When we look at improving our performance, we often only focus on exercise or supplement-based ways of doing so. Rarely do we look at our recovery, yet it is our recovery that determines how hard we can workout day to day. If we are not recovered from our last workout, we cannot put in our maximal effort into our next workout.
So how can we improve our recovery? Well, one of the best ways is to ensure that we get a proper amount of high quality, uninterrupted sleep on a consistent basis. It is becoming more common for people to have their workouts and nutrition in line, however sleep seems to elude many. Here are a few ways to improve your sleep quality in order to get the most out of your time in bed.
- Keep consistent sleep times. Your body gets used to routine. If you go to sleep and wake up at relatively the same times everyday, your body will become accustomed to this and you’ll find that it’ll be easier for you to fall asleep and wake up at these times. You’ll also be better rested after a full night of sleep as well.
- Magnesium is a great natural muscle relaxant. It is one of the most common minerals for people to be deficient in, which can lead to restlessness and muscle stiffness. Try supplementing with small doses at first and then increase until you find that you get a calming affect from it. Be careful to not take too much as it can cause gastric discomfort, however by starting with a small dose and gradually increasing it, you’ll be fine.
- Black out your bedroom. Even the slightest bit of light can cause an increase in blood cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that wakes us up in the morning. Hence, any increase throughout the night can cause you to either wake or at least not be in a deep sleep.
- Begin winding down an hour before your bedtime. You cannot expect the body to go from running around at a crazy pace, to restful sleep in a matter of minutes. Rushing around the house doing chores, staring at a screen and being active in general can all act as stimulants and work to keep you from falling asleep. An hour before your bedtime, begin to turn your lights down and decrease your activity. Some light stretching and/or deep breathing exercises can also help to calm you down.